Merit decides success in this life. Some have vast merits and things come to them easily. One needs to prepare so to have as much merit out of this lecture as possible. Merit in time is irrelevant. Motivation and dedication decide the accumulation of merit.
The way of the Bodhisattva needs the highest motivation. Which is to free all sentient beings from their suffering.
Bridging. The Bodhisattva text is beneficial to everyone. Buddhist or not. Whether one beliefs in the afterlife or not. The Bodhisattva Shantideva enables enlightenment. The points are summarized in the text.
Chapter 1 – The Benefit of the Spirit of Awakening
To understand the benefits, is to achieve the benefits with an enlightened mind.
So much effort is put into obtaining material riches which bring temporary pleasure. Whereas the benefits of Bodhisattva are experienced for many life times. However, this enlightened mind is difficult to obtain.
The knowledge of the Bodhisattva helps to reduce the strength of problems in life. (The distress that comes with the problems.) We have the potential, so we need to have the confidence. We need to engage in the practices with confidence.
Tripitaka – The three baskets
1. The Sutra basket. Meditation. Concentration and training. (The Bodhisattva belongs to this basket.)
2. The Vinaya basket. Discipline.
3. The Abhidarma basket. Wisdom.
All three baskets of teachings are important to reach Buddhahood. The Bodhisattva will allow for stability of mind. That is why it is in the ‘concentration basket’. One can achieve a peaceful mind by eliminating false projection, and achieve a stable mind. (The poisons such as hatred and ignorance, produce false projections.)
The Bodhisattva is not just about vows, but also about conduct. Vows only is too limited as far as the subject matter goes.
– pure morality;
– thorough cultivation of the six perfections;
– making stainless prayers.
To achieve precious human rebirths. It is difficult to achieve human bodies, and those with leisure and endowments are even harder to come by. So do not waste this opportunity.
Merit is the reason why some learn the easy way, and some come by their learning the hard way. Yet, some come to no learning at all. They just waste their opportunity.